Opinion column: A horrible tragedy; but a great opportunity for grandstanding


Russ Kent - Galion Inquirer



Photo courtesy heavy.com

Photo courtesy heavy.com


One day I’m going to happily leave the newspaper business behind me.

There are a few things I’ll miss.

Dealing with social media daily is not one of them.

While I enjoy keeping up with friends and family on social media, Facebook, Twitter and other sites bring out the worst in people.

And the worst in people was front and center Sunday and Monday.

A mass killing by a lone madman in El Paso left at least 21 people dead.

Several hours later, a lone murderer slaughtered at least nine people in Dayton, just 90 minutes or so from Galion.

The Dayton homicides hit pretty close to home. I’ve been to the Oregon District. I know people who live in the Dayton area, and it’s frightening to think any of those people could have become a victim Sunday of a deranged killer.

On Sunday, there were social media posts asking for prayers for the dead, the injured, their families and the communities of Dayton and El Paso.

There were social media posts showing support for law enforcement and emergency responders and strangers who helped at two horrible scenes.

But those posters were very much in the minority.

As is the sad norm nowadays, a tragedy — and the bigger the tragedy the better — is now a call to arms for people to make a point.

The fake outrage is the thing I detested most.

And on Facebook and Twitter, that fake outrage was palpable … and disgusting.

Two madmen combined to take the lives of at least 30 people. And after about 10 minutes of true grieving, social media bared it’s ugly truth.

To the loudest and most vocal users of social media, those 30 deaths were nothing more than a statistic, something to use to get across a grander point: more gun control, less gun control, immigration, open borders.

Those 30 deaths were nothing more than a number to be used to show your love — or hate — for Donald Trump and conservatives, or a reason to show your love — or hate — for liberal policies in America.

I’ve not seen the newspaper and media company editorials yet, but they will come. But these editorials will blame everyone, but the two people responsible for these mass murders. You know, the two people who pulled the trigger, over and over and over again.

Thirty innocent people were gunned down last weekend. And today, their families and friends and others are grieving.

But this week, those 30 deaths are nothing more than opportunities for politicians and others to use to get across their points of view.

The blame game is on and will never end: Trump is to blame. Barack Obama’s policies are to blame. Congress is to blame. Conservatives pulled the trigger and killed 30 people. Liberal policies that call for open borders and endeavor to take guns away from people are the reason 30 people were slaughtered.

Those 30 deaths are horrible.

Fortunately, 30 bodies provide a wonderful opportunity for politicians and other social media users to do some grandstanding.

And grandstand they did.

Opportunities like this — 21 dead people in Texas and nine dead in Ohio — don’t come along enough. You can count on the low-lifes in America t0 take advantage.

On a day that called for love and compassion, the internet was filled with hate and blame and fake outrage and grand-standing.

It was truly pathetic.

But in America, in 2019, it was just another day at the office.

Photo courtesy heavy.com
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Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer